A little more than two weeks after a 57-year-old patient went missing from San Francisco General Hospital, a woman's body was found in a stairwell at the center, prompting speculation that the two are one and the same.
The hospital on Tuesday would not confirm that the body found earlier in the morning in a stairwell on the fourth floor was Lynne Spalding, who came in to be treated for an infection, and was thought to have walked away from the hospital on Sept. 21. She was last seen by hospital personnel at about 10:15 a.m. that day. But her family did receive a call about the discovery.
David Perry, a spokesperson for Spalding's family, said on Tuesday afternoon that hospital told them that a body of a woman was found in a stairwell that is not normally used. Perry said the body has not been identified, but all signs indicate that it is Spalding.
"SF General has a stellar reputation," Perry said. "However, if someone's body was found in the stairwell, whether it's Lynne Spalding or not that's a very concerning development."
Perry also noted that it took 10 days for the hospital to issue a statement about the fact that a patient had gone missing.
"I can't imagine many things more horrible for her friends and family to consider than her body being abandoned for 19 days," Perry said. "It's difficult when you get a call saying we think we found your mom's body and then you spend the day by the phone hoping for new information."
Meanwhile, the hospital officials said they are cooperating with the investigation.
"We do not know the identity of this person and have no further information at this time," the hospital said in a statement.
Spalding was at the hospital getting treatment for a severe urinary infection. Nurses, who were checking on her every 15 minutes, said she suddenly disappeared.
Since her disappearance, Spalding's friends and family have spent countless hours searching for her, putting up fliers and sharing Spalding's story on social media. They dedicated a FIND LYNNE Facebook page to finding her, and as of Tuesday, still hadn't posted definitively whether the discovery of the body was linked to Spalding. Many posters were raising questions about how a hospital could misplace or lose a patient.
Spalding worked in hospitality sales for the past several years after growing up in Great Britain, her family said.